Tonga change one for All Blacks

Date published: October 7 2015

Tonga head coach Mana Otai has made just one change to his side to face New Zealand in Pool C on Friday at St James' Park.

Latiume Fosita replaces Sione Piukala at inside centre in the only change from the team that lost to Argentina last time out.

This is the fewest changes Tonga have made between successive Rugby World Cup matches since 2003. In that year, they made no changes to the side that lost to Wales and then faced the All Blacks. New Zealand won that match 91-7.

Six Tonga players will make a fourth start at RWC 2015 – Sione Kalamafoni, Viliami Ma'afu, Sonatane Takulua, Siale Piutau, Telusa Veainu and Vungakoto Lilo.

Tonga are currently third in Pool C, but if Georgia beat Namibia on Wednesday, will need to beat the All Blacks to qualify automatically for the next World Cup.

Tonga: 15 Vungakoto Lilo, 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Siale Piutau, 12 Latiume Fosita, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Kurt Morath, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Viliami Ma'afu, 7 Nili Latu (c), 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Joseph Tuineau, 4 Tukulua Lokotui, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Elvis Taione, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Paula Ngauamo, 17 Sona Taumalolo, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Jack Ram, 21 Samisoni Fisilau, 22 Viliami Tahitua, 23 Will Helu.

Date: Friday, October 9
Venue: St James' Park, Newcastle
Kick-off: 20:00
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)